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Monday, 30 November 2020
silver grey alouette helicopter approached the village from across the estuary,
it circled twice causing a downward daft with its rotor blades before flying
out over the estuary once more then to turn and land on the lawn by the sea
wall. A white Mini-Moke was parked waiting, as the rotors of the helicopter
slowed the driver got out of the taxi and stood by the vehicle. Eventually the
cabin door opened and a tall acid faced woman, her auburn hair was swept back
and made her look all the more severe, stepped out onto the float and then down
onto the grass, the taxi driver stepped forward.
“I am your driver; I’m to take you to the Green Dome.”
The helicopter pilot placed a single suitcase onto the float, the taxi driver collected it and escorted the woman to the taxi.
“This is the village” the woman said.
“Yes ma’am” the drive replied placing the suitcase in the back of the Mini-Moke. The woman stood looking about her for a few moments, taking in her new surroundings “And that she asked?”
“That’s the Old People’s home.”
“I see we had better be on our way” the woman said climbing into the front passenger seat.
The driver climbed in behind the wheel, started the engine and drove the taxi up towards the Old People’s Home, round the hairpin bend and up the hill into the village.
“It would appear the old folk are well looked after here” the acid faced woman said.
“They are ma’am we have an excellent welfare service.”
“And that building what is it?”
“That’s the Town Hall” the driver said as the taxi drove passed.
“The Town Hall, a town council presumably.”
“Yes ma’am, we’re democratic here….in some ways.”
“Really, that’s rather like putting the inmates in charge of the asylum, wouldn’t you say?”
“I wouldn’t know ma’am.”
The taxi carried on its way, turning right, passed the café and following the road towards the imposing building of the Green Dome. The driver sounding the two-tone horn to warn pedestrians and cyclists alike of their approach, warning to clear the way. The taxi came to a stop at the foot of the steps leading up to the Green Dome.
“We have arrived” the taxi driver said.
The woman stepped out “What about my bag?”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to carry it yourself ma’am. I have to drive your predecessor to the helicopter.”
The woman took her bag and climbed the steps. Standing on the balcony she stood looking out, taking in the local surroundings before turning her attention to the pair of arches and the door under those arches. There was a wrought iron bell pull, she pulled it and from somewhere a deep sounding bell tolled and the front door opened. A diminutive butler in black tails and gloves greeted her. He bowed and taking her suitcase led her through the double French doors up a short ramp to a pair of steel doors which opened leading through into a large purple walled domed chamber.
“Ah good you’ve arrived at last” said the bearded man sitting in a black globe chair. He got out of the chair and walked out from behind the grey curved desk.
“And you are?” the woman asked.
“An ex-interim Number 2, your predecessor, you are the new interim Number 2 my successor, and this is what I liked to think of as my inner sanctum. It is now your inner sanctum.”
He picked up the two suitcases which stood next to the desk and made to leave.
“Wait” she said “aren’t you going to instruct me on my duties?”
“What show you the ropes you mean, oh no there’s no time for that, the helicopter leaves in a few minutes. If you want to know anything just pick up an intercom. There’s nothing to it really, just don’t become too involved there’s nothing much for you to do, after all you’re simply an interim Number 2 while my permanent replacement arrives. Be seeing you, well I won’t really, but good luck. Only just don’t get embroiled with Number 6”
It was as though the ex-No.2 couldn’t get away fast enough, he hurried up the ramp, through the opening steel doors, through the foyer where the butler bowed bidding him farewell then outside and away in the Mini-Moke to take him to the waiting helicopter. The helicopter lifted off the ground and flew out across the estuary, it was but a quick flip to the landing stage where the ex-No.2 was transferred to a boat.
It took the interim No.2 a couple of days to find her feet, relying heavily as she did upon her assistant No.22, a tall middle aged man, with light blue eyes and brown hair. He sported a light grey jacket with dark blue piping. He arrived this morning in No.2’s office to find her reading through a small number of files.
“Good morning Number 2."
“What can you tell me about this man?” No.2 asked holding up a black and white photograph.
“That’s Number 6 ma’am, what is your interest in him?”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“He’s a trouble maker, your predecessors did not fair too well against him.”
“Is that all you can tell me?”
“He refuses to settle down, he has tried numerous times to escape, and when he’s not organizing escape plans he’s putting his nose into business which does not concern him. He refuses to give any information away. Only on rare occasions has he responded to his number, which he has always refused to wear, except on the one occasion when it suited him to do so.”
“I want to see this Number 6.”
“You can ma’am at any time” No.22 told his superior “may I?”
The large wall screen was switched on at the touch of a button displaying No.6 in his cottage, he was pacing up and down in his study, a half eaten ham sandwich in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
“Tell me, does he do that a lot?”
“I want to talk to him.”
“That is easily arranged, simply pick up an intercom and have a call put through to his cottage ‘6 Private.’
“I mean face to face, bring him to my office.”
“I don’t think that would be terribly wise, after all you’re……….well there’s no need."
“Interim……I still want to talk to Number 6” No.2 said sternly.
“Yes Number 2, I’ll have him brought to you at once.”
No.22 marched smartly across the floor, up the ramp and out through the opening steel doors. It was but a short walk down the steps, across the street, across the square to ‘6 Private.’ He was accompanied by two burly set men in striped jerseys, guardians. Approaching the door to the cottage it opened automatically and the three men went inside.
No.6, a man of medium height with dark hair was lying on a recliner listening to music “What do you want?”
“You Number 6, you are to come with us” No.22 ordered.
“What if I don’t want to, after all here I am nice and comfortable listening to a little Purcell, you come barging your way into my cottage demanding I go with you. Where are we supposed to be going anyway?”
“Number 2 wants to see you.”
“What if I don’t want to see him?”
“Her, oh I see there’s been a change in command, well it won’t be the first time, shouldn’t be surprised it’s not the last” Number 6 stood up, stopped the record playing and put on his blazer “right, shall we go gentlemen?”
“To the Green Dome, I hear there’s a new Number 2 in office, I think it’s time I made her acquaintance” No.6 said joyfully and led the way out of his cottage, across the square, across the street, up the steps to the Green Dome.
The pair of steels doors opened No.6 walked in to No.2’s purple walled office followed by No.22, the steel doors closed behind them>
A woman sat in the black globe chair, she had an open file on her lap and was drinking tea.
“You must be the new Number 2, I’m………”
“Number 6” the woman said “I know all about you.”
“What from my file?”
“You can go 22, I won’t be needing you.”
“If you’re sure Number 2, I mean you’ll be alright on your own with him?”
“Why is he dangerous? Would you like some tea?”
No.22 could tell when he wasn’t wanted, and made to leave the office while No.2 poured out a cup of tea for her visitor.
The steel doors closed.
“Milk and sugar?”
“Two lumps” he said.
She offered the cup and he drew close to her “You, of all people, what are you doing here?”
“If I told you there would be a submarine off the mouth of the estuary in two days time at , would you believe me?”
“We’ll talk later, here you never know who might be listening” she told him “enjoy your tea, and while you’re about it tell me why you resigned.”
“Are you trying to earn Brownie points, if you are, you’re talking to the wrong man, and I’ll tell you nothing!”
Of course someone had been listening, and watching as it happened, No.1 wasn’t at all impressed. “Where do they find them” might have been one question on his mind, another what to do…..what to do?
It was after curfew that No.2 finally got to be in a somewhat elaborately decorated room in the Town Hall. Something was on her mind, it having been easy to get into the village; it would prove rather more difficult even for a No.2 to get out. Perhaps together she and No.6 might just make it by stealing one of the jet boats at night under the cover of darkness.
The next day when No.6 came to call on No.2………
“Number 6 is it, well what do you want?”
A white haired gentleman probably in his early 60’s sat in the black globe chair. No.6 walked across the floor and approached the desk “I want to see Number 2.”
“Who do you think I am?”
“I’m a busy man, state your business if you would be so good. Otherwise get out!” No.2 said sternly.
“I want to see your predecessor.”
“You mean the one who was sent here to get you out.”
No.6 tried not to let the expression on his face give him away.
“Oh you needn’t try to hide it Number 6, she has told us all we needed to know, and more."
“Where is she?”
“In the hospital where she is being well looked after.”
“What will happen to her?”
“There is a price to pay for conspiracy. She’s being given the best treatment, and will be released back into the community……as a prisoner.”
Sunday, 29 November 2020
There is only Sir Charles, the Colonel, and PR12 in the room, so who, or what are those two looking at?
“I meet everybody. I know everything, who is ill and who is getting better.”
That was fortunate for No.6, he often in lucks way. I wonder why the flower seller set up he stall outside 6 Private? I should have thought she would have set up her stall outside the hospital, that’s the more usual place. But then had she not, No.14 wouldn’t have been standing there buying a bunch of flowers for herself, when No.6 came to the door of his cottage, to see the woman he saw when he opened his eyes in the laboratory during the night. Mind you, what was it that made No.6 go to the cottage door in the first place? Perhaps he was going to take the milk in!
Be seeing you
Friday, 27 November 2020
operations Number 6?”
Number 2 enters 6 Private looking for the Professor’s tape recorder, and has an operative with a metal detector who sweeps Number 6 and then his cottage. Number 2 believes Number 6 took a stroll along the beach, what beach might that be? The poor old Professor has lost his tape recorder with all his notes on it; Number 6 didn’t see it of course. It was about such and such size, that big was it? The Professor is rather worried about it, or so Number 2 says. Number 6 suggests Number 2 gets his man to look in the wardrobe, but there’s nothing there but Number 6’s own suit and his other piped blazer!
Number 2 has an air of confidence about him, which is surprising after his poor result of ‘A B and C.’
“Tell me, are you still as keen as ever to leave us?”
“Any more questions?”
“I was thinking that a compromise could be arranged in exchange for the recorder.”
“I wonder who has it?”
“Enjoy the lecture?”
“It’s a great experiment Number Six, you can learn a lot.”
“History’s not my subject.”
“Isn’t it? When was the treaty of
“What happened in eighteen-thirty?”
“Greek independence was assured and guaranteed.”
“Frederick of Austenburg he like the German Bundestag had never accepted the
“Very good, ten out of ten. Don’t underestimate yourself Number Six….and don’t underestimate me.”
So Speed Learn created a field of cabbages, knowledgeable cabbages, all repeating the same answers to the same questions word for word! Hence to destroy man’s creative learning, along with the right to make mistakes. A confident Number 2, who has confidence in both the Professor and the General to deliver Speed Learn. He told Number 6 not to underestimate himself, and not to underestimate him, but he underestimated Number 6 for a second time. One would have thought he would have learned his lesson the first time, but then this is the first time these two meet, if you don’t go by the screening order! What I find strange is how No.2 allowed himself to become part of the educational experiment of Speed Learn the way he did. After all he could so easily have avoided being brainwashed simply by not facing the television screen, indeed not turning on the television set in the first place!
Be seeing you
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
by our own reporter
I don’t know how the location
for the village came about, perhaps teams were sent out to find an isolated
location, miles from anywhere. But I can imagine how the British Intelligence,
would want the village as far away from the homeland as is possible. How the
installation came to be built on foreign soil might have been agreed by
political treaty or private agreement.
The site being closed in on three sides by the mountains, making it only accessible from the sea, so any men and materials had to be brought in by ship, transferred to boats and landing craft due to the shallow water of the estuary. And the first task would be to clear an area for a campsite, and a landing stage ready for the landing of machines and equipment.
The ground would initially be cleared by hand until room enough for heavy and large machinery to be brought in. Undergrowth cut down and burned, trees felled and stripped of their bark, the wood then cut into planks and used in the building process of the village.
Once an area had been cleared, the ground would need to be sculpted, and later landscaped, Plots for buildings marked out on the ground, so even before a boot was put on the ground a plan of The Village would have had to have been drawn up first, and then adapted to the location.
The work force would be recruited from Labour Exchanges and Employment Bureaus. All manner of companies connected to the building trade might well have been given government contracts, to supply men and materials. They of course would eventually make up the first of the population, never to see home again!
It would take time of course; two deep holes would have to be dug out of the ground for one thing, in order to accommodate both the Control Room and Council Chamber beneath the Town Hall. Foundations of buildings dug out by hand, the soil used to help sculpt the site. The project would require a constant line of supplies brought in by ship, each one in turn would lie off at the mouth of the estuary as it was unloaded.
As the buildings, arches, walls, the café, bandstand, the Green Dome, the village shop together with a number of cottages were erected, roads and paths would be wound around them, tarmac and cobbles stones laid, until the village really began to take shape. The workmen would live in a village of tents, then in rough hewn wooden shacks. How much of the village we know was actually built before residents were moved in is unknown. It might be that originally The Village might have simply been made up of an administration building, the Green Dome, the Village shop, and a few cottages. The rest of the village then developed and grew over the years. How many prisoners the village was originally designed to take, is as difficult to say as to the number of its population in the 1960’s.
For any prisoner who wakes up in what appears to be his, her, or their own home, does so in a replica of a room in their own home where they used to live, and not an entire house. Basically prisoners living in the village generally have four rooms to their accommodation, a living room, a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. There is no upstairs. Most accommodation in The Village is terraced, there are no semi-detached cottages, but there are a few detached cottages of which ‘6 Private’ is one, and in that regard Number 6 is lucky, as he appears to have a whole cottage to himself, but even so its nothing like the home he had in London how could it be considering the scale of the village. And so 6 Private has no more rooms than anyone else’s dwelling. And yet perhaps the
The village is very charming, picturesque, a place where one might not mind spending a fortnights holiday. And yet all the candy coloured buildings, the mixture of architecture, and the manicured gardens, are all designed to make the citizens feel very much at home, once they have overcome their initial shock of waking up there. Designed to put citizens at their ease, designed to hide the dark undercurrent that flows throughout the village!
Be seeing you
Saturday, 21 November 2020
“It’s not good enough!” No.221 said looking at the
job in hand.
“Isn’t it, what’s wrong with it?” No.221b asked.
“It’s not good enough.”
“Yes I know, you’ve said that, what’s wrong with it that’s what I want to know.”
“It will have to be done again that’s all.”
“Done again, it can’t be done” 221b protested.
“And why not pray?”
“Because it can’t be done, besides there’s no time!”
“That’s always the thing, a question of time!”
“That’s because it’s lunchtime.”
“What about after lunch?”
“Oh there’ll be plenty of time after lunch, so we can do it again then.”
“Good, and let’s get it right next time or Number 2 will not be best pleased.”
“I tell you what; I don’t like the look of it!”
“It looks malevolent.”
“As if it would do one harm if it could only escape!”
“I think it’s that we’re dealing with synthetic membrane, now steel and fibre glass, well you know where you are with those materials.”
“But it didn’t work, did it?”
“No, and I’m not so sure about that……..thing!”
“Well let’s have our lunch and come back to it this afternoon.”
The thing contained with the class tank was perpetually moving in water, like heated wax in oil in one of those astro lamps. It had the ability to divide itself into smaller segments, but then all the segments joined together in one large sphere of synthetic membrane. It then began to increase its size until it completely filled the glass tank until it began to exert pressure on the reinforced glass case in which it was contained. Then there was a crack in the inch thick glass, and water began to trickle out, and the crack split wider until one side of the glass tank shattered and water spilled out onto the bench and down onto the floor and the amorphous membrane thing with it. What caused to grow in size is anyone’s guess, but by the time the two bio-chemists, 221 and 221b returned from lunch they were greeted by a membranic sphere of some 6 feet in circumference. It seemed agitated, and it made a nose, something like the cross between a bicycle pump, Gregorian chant, and someone breathing through an aqua lung! Both the bio-chemists backed off, 221b reached for the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom, while 221 fended the thing off using a broom, which was effective as the membranic sphere acted like a balloon, in that it offered no resistance. 221b managed to raise the alarm the while 221 had been backed into a corner. Then the thing turned its attention on 221b, who backed away to the door, but it was too late. The thing was on him in an instant, a blood curdling roar filled the laboratory, 221b tried to fend the thing off with his arms, but membrane covered his face, he screamed oh how he screamed until his lungs burned with lack of oxygen. And then the membranic sphere began to absorb 221b, the white membrane began to take on a reddish ink hue as it absorbed and digested the man inside. 221 watched the obscene and awful sight that sickened him to his stomach. He made a bolt for the door but too late, the membrane was upon him, he too was being absorbed and when the security guards appeared on the scene only and arm protruded out of the membrane, and a hand reached out. It was a horrid and ghastly sight to behold, a white gloved hand of a security guard grabbed the hand, but it was no good, the hand slipped out of the gloved hand and was absorbed into the white membrane. The two security guards backed away from the awful thing and the laboratory was sealed.
In No.2’s office the grey ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep standing by his desk he picked it up “Yes what is it?”
“Supervisor here sir, there has been an incident in the laboratory.”
“An incident, what kind of incident?”
When it comes to funerals they are not always possible, you see you need a body! However a memorial was held for 221 and 221b. As for the membranic thing in the laboratory, it was subdued by the use of a nerve gas agent. It was then transferred to a containment area at the bottom of the sea and held there until a controlling agent could be developed so that the Guardian as it was to be known could be released from the containment area in order to serve and protect the community of the village. The Guardian is a fearful thing to behold, it could be described as a guard dog, Rover you might call it to give a dog a name. It also has the quality of a sheep dog which goes about rounding up stray sheep that deem to escape the confines of the village. And yet it’s just as much a prisoner in the village as anyone, worse, a slave trapped and confined at the bottom of the sea.
A number of divers had been selected to construct a containment area at the bottom of the sea. Amongst their number was No.10, an ex-British Royal Navy diver who had been recruited to work for the village. However seeing the village for what it is, had been biding his time for such an opportunity as this. He checked his air gauge and estimated he had about 10 minutes of air left in the tank strapped to his back. And while his diving buddies were busy he swam away as fast as he could on a bearing towards the shore and at a depth of 80 feet. Of course his non-presence at the underwater site was soon detected. The matter quickly reported to No.2 who decided that no action should be taken other than the introduction of the Guardian; it would be its first field test.
By this time No.10 only had enough air to last another five minutes, his idea being to break the surface and swim for the shore and from there make his way inland, but just at that moment something large came at him out of the gloom, a white amorphous thing. He swam round to try and avoid the collision, he turned this way and that, but the Guardian countered his every manoeuvre, and all the time he was using up more oxygen. He swam upwards, kicking out at the thing as he broke surface. Then divesting his goggles, and air tank he swam for the shore…….but the Guardian, having also broke the surface was close behind, he began to swim towards the shore, but the Guardian was too swift and was on him in a moment. The membrane covered his face, he screamed………..his body left floating in the sea as the Guardian returned to the watery depths.
Be seeing you
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
not quite Venice,
but an Italianate village is as a good a place to hold Carnival as any I should
‘Dance of The Dead,’ Death lurks through the entire episode, from the moment No.6 finds the dead body of No.34 on the beach, to the living death forced upon Roland Walter Dutton after the doctor-No.40 allowed his enthusiasm to get the better of him in his experiments. To the moment No.6 is sentenced to death, the Judges sentence in the name of the people, the people carry it out in the name of justice. Just as well then that the mob baying for the Prisoner’s blood didn’t lay hands upon him, otherwise they would have torn him limb from limb, a not too healthy prospect for No.2!
~ No.6 comes into possession of a radio, such goes against the rules, but what was No.34 doing with a radio, and how was he able to smuggle that into the village? Sitting on the outlook No.6 tunes the radio in and listens to a radio transmission, which could easily have been transmitted from the village “Nowhere is there more beauty than here. Tonight when the moon rises, the whole world will turn to silver. Do you understand, it is important you understand. I have a message for you, you must listen, the appointment cannot be fulfilled. Other things must be done tonight. If our torment is to end, if liberty is to be restored we must grasp the nettle even though it makes our hands bleed. Only through pain can tomorrow be assured.” The message seems to be intimating the village, and the person reading that message sounds very much like that of a previous No.2……the voice of Eric Portman!
Map of The Village, No matter how roughly sketched No.6’s map it has no indication of location of the village, no longitude or latitude, which he must have learned from his search for the village in the previous episode ‘Many Happy Returns.’ But there wouldn’t be would there, because ‘Dance of the Dead’ was produced before ‘Many Happy Returns.’
An invitation to “Carnival and Dance” But No.6 has no elaborate costume; instead his own suit of clothes had been delivered especially for the occasion. And in that perhaps they thought No.6 would be happier as himself!
Old colleagues, In ‘Arrival’ No.6 met up with Cobb on the hospital ward, and now he encountered Roland Walter Dutton in a cave on the beach, but what of Chambers? Dutton and Cobb have something in common; they find it difficult to say how long they’ve been in the village!
If meeting up with Dutton was a shock, No.6 received an earlier one, as he tried to follow No.240 into the Town Hall. I bet he wasn’t expecting that!
“Are you alright, you tried to go in…..by mistake? Its fussy about who it lets in…. this is the Town Hall.”
I bet No.6 wasn’t expecting that, to be hit by an electronic force field! But then why should he, after all he had been in the Town Hall before. Unless of course ‘Dance of The Dead’ was to precede ‘Free For All,’ then it would have been right, No. 6 would have known that this is the Town Hall, not having been in it before. However had ‘Free For All been preceded by ‘Dance of The Dead’ then there would have been no need for No.6 to go to the Town Hall in order to witness the disillusionment of the out-going Council, because there would not have been an election. The fact that the Village political system has no opposition! In the first place, No.2 is appointed, not elected by the people, and in the second place No.6 knew that this is the Town Hall, No.2 told him so during his aerial tour of The Village on the day of his arrival. But perhaps he had forgotten, after all there had been a great deal for him to take to take in that morning!
No.6 wakes up after spending the night on the beach, he finds the body
supposedly washed up on the beach. The body could have been placed there for
No.6 to find. He goes through the dead man’s pockets, and opens the wallet and
takes out the photograph of a couple sat by the pool and fountain in the
Piazza. There is also a letter, and three raffle tickets. Later in another
scene on the Outlook, No.6 takes the wallet from his pocket, and looks at the
photographs again. Is he wondering about the couple in the photograph, and how
it is that the body of the man washed up on the shore has a picture in his pocket
of a couple photographed in the village? But of course the dead man No. 6 found
is the man pictured in the photograph, and by the manner of his attire, probably
on the day of his arrival in the village. There is another story here. Who is
the young woman pictured with the man, and who took the photograph? No.6 might
have been curious enough as to find the woman, to tell her that he had found
the body of her dead husband, or boyfriend. Otherwise why does he seem curious
about the photograph? There is also a strip of negative film in the wallet,
perhaps the negative of the photograph. Perhaps the couple in the photograph
arrived in the village together, as she is not wearing a badge. They look as
though they are on holiday, and just asked someone to take their photograph.
Perhaps they came willingly, in the same way of the Professor and his wife.
That they came to the village for a reason, and yet the man in the photograph
was found dead. So then what happened to the woman in the photograph?
Finally the black cat, they say a cat has two homes, but what about two owners? The cat couldn’t have belonged to Mrs. Butterworth because the cat was in the village before she arrived, there having been a male No.2 during the opening sequence to ‘Many Happy Returns.’ So the cat must have belonged to No.2 of ‘Dance of the Dead,’ which means she must have left the cat in the village when she left. That would be due to the production order, but still would have been right had ‘Dance of The Dead’ been placed as originally intended, 2nd in the screening order. But as it stands the cat is in the village before the advent of ‘Dance of the Dead, so the cat must belong to Mrs. Butterworth, and when she left the village she left both cat and Martha in the village!
Be seeing you